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NHS offers home blood pressure checks to save thousands of lives
Hundreds of thousands of people will be able to test their blood pressure at home, thanks to lifesaving monitors on the NHS.
The devices, purchased by NHSX, are being made available to 220,000 people who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure and who could benefit from regular checks.
The action to catch more killer conditions earlier and save lives as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, is estimated to prevent 2,200 heart attacks and almost 3,300 strokes over five years.
More than 65,000 blood pressure monitors have already been delivered to patients and are similar to those used in GP practices.
Patients wrap the small machine around their upper arm to measure their blood pressure reading and send the reading to their GP to review by telephone, email or through a digital remote monitoring platform.
The rollout supports the NHS Long Term Plan ambitions to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and dementia cases over the next 10 years.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and National Medical Director of Primary Care for the NHS said: “It’s vital that people with high blood pressure keep track of their levels, so they can report any significant changes that could indicate a potentially deadly stroke or heart attack, and this simple but lifesaving innovation offers people efficient and convenient care.
“By using these monitors, and reporting the readings to local teams, patients are able to quickly and easily update GP teams with a regular snapshot of their blood pressure health. These simple checks will help us to save lives”.
Dr Shahed Ahmad, National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention said: “Getting these monitors into the homes of patients that need them is a really important step – we want people to feel empowered to monitor their own health and to understand their own conditions better.
“With thousands of monitors already being sent around the country, this initiative will provide GPs with more data than ever to deliver first-rate care”.
Lisa Hollins, Director of Innovation at NHSX said: “By providing this tech to people in their own homes we can reach people who might not otherwise have access to regular monitoring and improve care for those who need it most, delivering on the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition to reduce health inequalities.
“NHSX was delighted to support the funding of hundreds of thousands of blood pressure monitors and extra support for frontline primary care staff.
“The pandemic has shown patients want to be more involved and active in their own health, and home remote monitoring for blood pressure or other conditions is good for patients and good for the NHS”.
Roger, a patient aged 75 from Oxford, said: “I was grateful to receive a free blood pressure monitor from my GP surgery recently, which is simple and easy to use.
“I’d visited my doctor for a regular check-up and was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
“After discussion with the GP, I feel I understand my blood pressure better and feel happy I can monitor it at home and send it to the GP without going across town.
“I think it’s a great idea and a handy way of keeping an eye on my health”.
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Consultant Cardiologist said: “People diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
“It is vital that their blood pressure measurements are tracked regularly to ensure their blood pressure is well treated.
“This important initiative, supported by the BHF, means people with heart conditions can monitor their blood pressure themselves at home which reduces the need to travel for consultations”.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We know technology can transform the care the NHS provides to patients, and these innovative blood pressure devices will give people the tools they need to monitor their own health at home.
“This is just one way we’re backing the health service to harness the potential of new technology, to support hardworking staff and save thousands of lives”.
It is advised that all adults over 40 have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
If you do not have your own home monitor, you can get your blood pressure checked at several places. From October 2021, every NHS pharmacy in England is now able to provide the lifesaving checks to people aged 40 or over. You can also get it checked at an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults in England aged 40-74, at home or at your local GP surgery.
More information about the blood pressure test and home blood pressure monitoring can be found on the NHS website.